March 31, 2011

Fish hatchery funding may be in jeopardy

Fish hatchery funding may be in jeopardy
Legislation may do more harm than good

By Robyn Rohde
BHG News Service

The Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery’s annual operating budget is $667,492, but that funding is being threatened by proposed budget cuts in President Barrack Obama’s 2012 budget.
Rob Holm, manager of the Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery, said early budget numbers could mean the Garrison Dam hatchery will lose more than $140,000 in funding a year and the hatchery in Valley City could lose around $10,000 a year.
It’s a complicated issue, but the crux is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes cutting its funding to hatcheries and passing the cost on to the agencies that constructed dams.
Holm said final word on any cuts likely won’t come until the end of April so things are in limbo until then.
Although he can not take any action on the matter, Holm pointed to the impact that fish hatchery has on surrounding communities. The hatchery has its own economist who studies what kind of fishing pressure is out there and what anglers are spending a day on their fishing trips.
“They look at our fish stockings and find out what percentage of those fish are contributing to that fishery,” Holm said. “They do the magical math, they come up with some values.”
The total economic output from Garrison and Valley City last year was $228 million. One hundred and eighty-four million of that was from the Garrison location alone.

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